Over the past few years, we have experienced a massive spike in colloidal silver sales, we hear about it on social media, internet blogs and on televised media. We then hear of many consumers sharing their own personal anecdotes that it has cured a condition for them that conventional medicine could not. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting information out there regarding colloidal silver, to the point where it is difficult to make an informed decision as a consumer. As anything else, it is always crucial to do your research and understand what you are taking and how to correctly take it.
So, what is it exactly? Colloidal silver is a suspension of small metallic particles in a liquid base and can be found in various preparations such as, liquids, topical gels, ointments, and sprays (7).
But how does colloidal silver work, you ask? Currently, there are only three known mechanisms of action:
- Silver cations can form pores and create a puncture in the bacterial cell wall (4).
- Silver ions can enter the bacterial cell and inhibit cellular respiration alongside disrupting the metabolic pathways (4).
- Once the silver has entered the cell, it can also disrupt DNA and its replication cycles (4).
How do I use it?
Personally, I only use colloidal silver topically, as there has been a vast amount of research conducted supporting this. I have used colloidal silver for eye infections such as conjunctivitis and stye formation and found it effective in reducing symptoms associated with these conditions. I have also used it for cuts and abrasions to minimise bacterial infection (2).
Unfortunately, there is minimal research regarding colloidal silver being taken orally and therefore, am unable to give recommendations without reputable research to reference.
So, what are the potential benefits of using colloidal silver?
As I mentioned above, research conducted has shown that it has antimicrobial properties, meaning it has been tested against various fungi, viruses, and bacteria with effective results (1).
Some researchers have tested colloidal silver and its efficacy, although they are not human-based studies, rather test tube and animal studies (5).
- In a test tube study, colloidal silver worked as a broad-spectrum antibiotic and was antifungal against particular strains (5).
- It has also been observed that colloidal silver caused damage to cell walls of cultured bacterial strains such as, e. Coli and Salmonella
There are possible side effects.
- Colloidal silver may cause argyria, a permanent bluish-grey discolouration to the skin. This can occur due to a large build-up of silver granules within your skin linked with long term use (2).
- May cause poor absorption and interact with medications, such as penicillamine, quinolones, tetracyclines, and thyroxine (7).
- Neurological problems (7).
- Renal damage (7).
The most important aspect of trialling a new health remedy is to ensure you do your research from reputable websites and always follow health directions from your GP or medical practitioner.
Written by our in-house Nutritionist.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call on (03) 9318 3455.
- Politano, A.D., Campbell, K.T., Rosenberger, L.H., & Sawyer, R.G. 2013, “Use of silver in the prevention and treatment of infections”, Surgical Infections, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 8 – 20, accessed on 9th August 2020 from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4955599/>
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health 2020, Colloidal silver, accessed on 9th August 2020 from <https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/colloidal-silver>
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research 2020, Consumer health, accessed on 9th August 2020 from <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/colloidal-silver/faq-20058061>
- Wilson, S, Barnard, R.T., Blaskovich, M.A.T., & Ziora, Z.M. 2018, “Antimicrobial silver in medicinal and consumer applications: a patent review of the past decade (2007-2017)”, Antibiotics, vol. 7, no. 4, accessed on 9th August 2020 from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315945/>
- Zhang, X, Liu, Z, Shen, W, & Gurunathan, S 2016, “Silver nanoparticles: synthesis, characterization, properties, applications and therapeutic approaches”, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 17, no. 9, accessed on 15th August 2020 from < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037809/>
- Losasso, C, Belluco, S, Cibin, V, Zavagnin P, Micetic, I, Gallocchio, F, Zanella, M, Bregoli, L, Biancotto, G, & Ricci, A 2014, “Antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles: sensitivity of different Salmonella serovars”, Frontiers in Microbiology, accessed on 15th August 2020 from < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4033309/>
- Woods, D.J. 2012, “Colloidal Silver”, Journal of Primary Health Care, accessed on 15th August 2020 from <https://www.publish.csiro.au/hc/pdf/HC12251>